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Sports Movie of the Week — ‘Caddyshack’ [VIDEO]

Caddyshack
Orion Pictures

Thanks to golfer Bubba Watson’s dramatic and improbable win at The Masters on Sunday, golf has once again found an audience well outside the well-heeled country club settings in which the sport is perhaps best known. Watson’s unique back story — a country-raised, self-taught pro with past family hardships — strikes a more common tone for a game long encumbered by a stuffy air.

Though he had previous tour wins, Watson’s victory was indeed an ‘ incredible Cinderella story’ of ‘this unknown com(ing) outta nowhere to lead the pack at Augusta.’ While CBS golf announcer Jim Nantz could have uttered those phrases this weekend, he didn’t; Carl Spackler did…32 years ago in our Sports Movie of the Week, ‘Caddyshack,’ a landmark comedy about golf, and life, that has aged remarkably well.

In the 1980 film, Bushwood Country Club worker Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) attempts to save money for college by caddying through a summer and meeting important people such as Judge Elihu Smails (Ted Knight), club player Ty Webb (Chevy Chase) and real estate mogul Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield). Noonan has limited interaction with Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), the assistant groundskeeper obsessed with trying to rid the course of a pesky gopher while working on his own escapist fantasies, from which the aforementioned ‘Cinderella story’ quote is culled.

While pursuing a caddy scholarship and the pleasures of youth, Noonan soon finds himself in the middle of a grudge match scheduled between Czervik and Smails. The young man soon has choices to make that could change his life, meanwhile Spackler’s pursuit of the gopher could affect everyone at the club.

Five Reasons to Watch ‘Caddyshack’

1. The comic writing is both flawless and timeless. The movie was based on the memories that writer and co-star Brian Doyle-Murray had from his days as a caddy at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, Illinois. This real-life basis gives the characters – and the humor – authenticity that is too often lacking in comedy vehicles.

2. While often being ribald and juvenile, the movie actually does explore class issues and the realities of the transition from adolescence to young adulthood, albeit in subtle and mindless ways.

3. As Spackler, Murray steals the film by getting maximum laughs with minimum dialogue. The gopher puppet helps, too.

4. The ‘Baby Ruth’ candy bar scene is one of many in the movie that long-time fans of the film revere as comic legend.

5. The late Rodney Dangerfield’s one-liners throughout the movie illustrate why he was a better comedian than an actor. In ‘Caddyshack,’ one gets the feeling that Dangerfield is portraying a boorish, obnoxious caricature of himself.

Click the play button to watch the original trailer of the film below:

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